January 21, 2020
Each new year ushers in a fresh start.
Even if your new year’s resolutions look almost identical to last year’s, this new year is a gift for you! There’s no better time to kickstart that fitness goal for a healthier you or to strive toward the major goal you want to hit.
I don’t know how the previous year turned out for you. Some of us may still be trying to get their lives together after suffering from a tragedy or a heartache. Some may have had a great year and are looking forward to a better year. However your life looked like last year, we can all start over this year.
How, exactly, do we start over? Here is a guide for us to start afresh in the new year.
To “take stock” is to examine, to check, to take a closer look. This is what Moses was doing when he wrote Psalm 90:
“Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise.”
Psalms 90:12 (ERV)
Examining our lives closely forces us to see how we’ve been using our time, resources, and talents. When we take stock of our lives, we will be challenged and motivated to change what needs to change and to improve what needs improvement.
I hope that when you take stock of your life, you will gain wisdom as you write your personal goals and resolutions for this year.
It’s so easy to write our goals on paper, but it’s much more difficult to fulfill our commitments. We sometimes end up seeing ourselves dropping out of the race along the way. To avoid this pattern, we need to be clear as to why we’re setting those goals and resolutions in the first place.
Why do you want to get more fit?
Why do you want to be more diligent in your studies?
Your answer to the “why” will either keep you going or make you want to quit. Your purpose behind these goals will determine their value. If it’s worth doing, then you’ll persevere.
Most importantly, we need to remind ourselves from time to time about why we do what we’re resolved to do. God’s tip to Habakkuk might also be useful for us in this context:
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”
Write down your goals, vision, and purpose.
A fun way to do this is to make a vision board creatively—write using calligraphy, add pictures, or draw your dreams for the year. You will surely be unique and creative in your layout. You can include dreams for yourself, your family, your campus, your church, or your community.
Hanging it somewhere you can see every day makes for good motivation as you run with your vision.
Surround yourself with people who share your passion.
I have a friend who had asthma when she was a child. She said she barely had time for exercise and described herself as a couch potato. That is until two years ago, when she developed an interest for running and ran regularly with her friends.
A year later, she ran her first 21K marathon.
What seems far-fetched for now may actually turn into reality when you take small steps at a time. But when you take that small step with like-minded people, that goal or dream may actually be closer than it seems.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Look for people who will affirm your good decisions, nudge you toward the right direction, remind you of your goals, and motivate you to keep going.
Celebrate your wins, whether big or small. Celebrating victories is a way to reward yourself for your hard work and to thank God for giving you the strength to accomplish your goals.
For long-term goals, such as getting high grades at the end of a school year, you can celebrate the little wins that lead you closer to your ultimate goal. For example, you can celebrate and reward yourself when you get good grades in an exam.
If you’re aiming for high grades, developing a regular study habit is a win in itself! It’s worth celebrating even when the results are not visible at the moment.
No matter how well we plan our lives this year, the fact remains that we have no control over our future and only God knows what’s going to happen this year. So, the best way to start this year is to set our goals and dreams by faith.
Making plans in faith means seeking God’s direction for our lives, consulting His Word for our plans, and trusting that we can depend on Him. As we make our plans for this year, we also acknowledge that God has a plan for us, plans not to harm us, but to prosper us, to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
As we take the time to take stock of our lives and write down our dreams and, let us ask Him to show us the way.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.